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deficits, and that austerity was never given a credible grade, for example, by many investors, thinking, of course, it wasn't a great strategy. i concur. here's the problem, though. you know, austerity by definition is, you know, deficit cutting with less benefits and services. now, it is a horrible word. and, of course, many governments and politicians grabbed on to it because they really don't want deficit cutting and they don't want less benefits and services. but it is pretty hard to call it austerity as we go into, what, year six of post credit crisis activity. and global economics don't dictate we're doing a heck of a lot better, even though we had some jumps in growth, which kind of can be predicated on high levels of stimulus, maybe don't call it stimulus, maybe you call it just three to four years of big deficits. now, quid pro quo on the other hand seems to be the relationship that dictates who the big buyers are of very high quality, relatively speaking sovereign debt, whether it is boons, treasuries, guilts or ooth oaths. we need a whole lot less quid and a lot more pro grow
the deficit under control. >> alan, talk to us about the context of the economy in light of that policy. do you think there's any risk that perhaps the fed might not step away from its policies in terms of buying assets soon enough? >> melissa, as you know, we have a long-standing practice of not commenting on the fed. the federal reserve board is an independent agency. so i'll respectfully decline. but i think what's important is that the administration and congress continue to make the steps to build a stronger economy, an economy that works better for the middle clags and helps put us on a path of a sustainable budget in a balanced way. >> let me put it another way, alan, then. do you think the economy is stronger than what wall street is forecasting right now? in the jobs numbers? >> i think the main risk we face right now is that congressional gridlock could prevent us from making a step we need to build a stronger economy, an economy that works better for the middle class. we are seeing improvements in the housing sector, since housing was ground zero for the financial crisis. i think
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